For the better part of my life, I have battled with extreme worry, also known as stress and anxiety. Regardless of what is taking place in my life, I always have this nagging thought in the back of my mind that something surely is going to go wrong. I can admit, some of them are silly, but some of them can have a hold on my life and truly be debilitating. I know that I am not alone when I say stress and anxiety play a role in my life. It has not an easy discussion topic, nor is it always pleasant to admit that you have stress and anxiety raging a bear in your mind and thoughts. For most of us, our lives appear to be sweetly humming along on the outside, which doesn’t seem to be problematic.
Stress and anxiety are very real problems for people.
I read an article that stated at least 70% of Americans experience some type of stress. Isn’t that number high? I thought so as well. But when you consider the triggers that bring on stress and anxiety, you may realize, like I did, that it’s a common issue for many people.
There is freedom in following Jesus and believing that his ways are better than our own.
Many factors in life can cause stress and anxiety.
Life will always give us trying times and situations that may seem out of our control. Some stressors in our lives may not be as visible or apparent as others. Stress and anxiety show up in others in many different ways.
- Workplace tension.
- School, homework and grades.
- Chronic pain or illness (personally or in your family).
- Lack of community and loneliness.
- Concern over your family, children, and other loves ones.
- Thinking about and planning your future (career path, starting a family, etc.)
- Strains in the area of financials.
Don’t think that if what you stress and worry about isn’t in the list below that your worry is invalid. Like I said, stress and anxiety show in people’s lives differently.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 NIV
Easier said than done, right? I know. But it can be the single most powerful tool we have standing between our stress and anxiety and our peace. Trusting the word and the will of God over our abilities can be life changing. Trust me; there have been plenty of moments in my life, where my reactions and responses didn’t align with Gods word.
Combating stress and anxiety can be accomplished in a few simple steps.
By no means do I mean to say if you follow the below list, all of the stress and anxiety in your life will disappear. To be honest, deciding to follow Jesus often make you a threat to the enemy. As a threat to the enemy, his attempts to throw you off your game become greater.
- Know who God says you are, not who the world says you are.
- Let your yes be yes and your no be no.
- Stop comparing your life to the lives of people around you.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
When we study the word, we are a reminder of how valuable we are to God.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1 NIV
For some people, many of these seem like an impossible task. Many times our angst comes from fears of being judged or being seen as weak. I want to reassure you that when you have the right people in your life, asking for help, saying no, and not comparing yourself become easy.
Asking a friend, trusted advisor, and maybe even a family member to help hold you accountable, especially in the area of taking on too much. Taking on too many volunteer events, taking on more in the workplace to compensate for a peer.Of course, there’s a certain level of accountability that comes in the workplace, but when we over-extend ourselves, we have to learn to say no. This takes great self-awareness and the desire to manage your stress and anxiety to let your no be your no, and not to be able to be compromised.
Your life is exactly where it’s supposed to be right now, even if it’s full of some stress and anxiety. I know it doesn’t feel good right now, but this season is temporary. The victory is already yours; you just have to be still.